Village 337 calls for the Lafayette Police Chief’s resignation

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Local civil rights organization the Village 337 held an emergency meeting regarding policing concerns at the Harambee Center Thursday afternoon.

Devon Norman, the president and director of Village 337, and also with Black Voters Matter Youth and Young Adult Coalition for Southwest Louisiana said, “We are here to address the unfortunately a number of issues, but specifically the issue of policing in Lafayette, the city, and the parish.”

With several policing concerns discussed he tells News 10 speaking on behalf of the organization, “We call for the immediate resignation of the Chief of Police of Lafayette because she has been completely ineffective. This is a drawn-on lingering thing from the Josh Guillory administration and we believe that we elected a new mayor to lead us into a new era and we believe that this is one of the last things that she can do as she’s continuing to undo all of the wrongs that have been done to make sure that this community moves forward with less crime and more trust with police and community.”

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Furthermore, Norman highlighted the different officer-involved shootings throughout Lafayette Parish. One includes the Heymman Park officer-involved shooting. News 10 reported there were seven officer-involved shootings in the year 2024 throughout Acadiana. Another concern highlighted an incident at the Scott Boudin Festival where a Scott officer is in a video allegedly choking an unarmed Black man which the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Another concern highlighted was an officer-involved incident where a Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s deputy died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“We heard of the unfortunate situation with the Lafayette Sheriff’s deputy who attempted to unalive himself, and then we found out this morning [Thursday] that the attempt was successful,” said Norman. “The biggest issue that we have is that there is a lack of transparency across the board. So we can never say why or know why because any time an incident happens as it relates to police versus community it’s hidden.”

He continued, “We live in a city that wants to be progressive, that seems like it can be progressive. Yet most progressive cities release these types of footage as it relates to body cam footage and they do that immediately. What it does is it creates community and police trust and it builds that sense of transparency and that there’s nothing to hide.”

As the meeting continued police officer’s mental health was brought up as the organization remembered Officer Clyde Kerr III who died by suicide in his Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office patrol car outside the sheriff’s office.

“[He] did what he did and publicly let the whole world know exactly why he was going to do it and racism and the issues of policing that we have declared to be an issue in our city and in this state was the reason why and so I wouldn’t speculate why this officer did. We know why officers in their situations do what they do,” said Norman.

“What happens is you have police officers who are at high levels of stress because they’re ill-equipped, underprepared, they’re not ready to do the job that they’re asked to do and so the stress levels are high. We can’t speculate why this officer [SRO] did what he did, but we know that there is a history of it,” said Norman.

Consuella Gaines with Vote Chapter organizer asked, “Who is the oversight over LPD? Who is questioning or investigating the officers and paying attention to their mental health? Who’s doing that and who’s responsible is it? That needs to be made known, whether there is or isn’t someone doing that. I think the public would feel safe if somebody was doing that.”

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“I think that it’s extremely important that we come together, especially those stakeholders in the community, to address what we are facing,” said Norman. “If I say it by myself and if I try to figure out all the problems alone, it’ll never be figured out but right now, when we look at the state of Louisiana, we are facing tumultuous times and when it comes to the month of July, on July 4th, laws are going to change in this state that is going to put more young men, specifically black men, and women in jail. It’s going to allow for them to have access to weapons without any training, which is going to cause more injury and it’s going to cause more situations where we have no choice but to respond.”

He adds, “We haven’t been proactive enough as a community, and I’m calling on our community to be proactive in this way. The community walks with the police are nothing more to me, in my opinion. Then checking the box for the police department and really getting nothing done. When we see what’s been happening as it relates to crime continuing to rise and as it relates to the continued injustice between the police department and the community, it proves that nothing is being done.”

We reached out to the LPD about the Village 337 calling for the police chief’s resignation and have not heard anything back.

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